Afghanistan Times – Sikhs seek asylum in Canada in wake of Gurdwara attack

Faizi Mansour

Kabul – Afghanistan, 27 March 2020. Afghan Sikh community has called on the government of Canada to accept their asylum plea after a deadly attack conducted by the ISIS-Khurarsan or so called Daesh on one of their worship places (Gurdwara) in capital Kabul that killed 25 and wounding eight other Afghan Sikhs.

Over 100 Sikh families have sought asylum in Canada.

An Afghan Sikh, Sorbi Singh accused the government of committing negligence to the Sikh minorities, saying that no one in Afghanistan pays attention to their problems.

“President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah are jeopardizing the people for their personnel interests,” Tajindar Singh, another Afghan Sikh said. “We are exhausted.”

Meanwhile, Narindar Singh Khalsa, a Sikh member of the Afghan parliament has condemned the attack and called it in contrast with humanity. “You will never succeeded,” he said in respond to the militants.

Last week, the ISIS-Khurarsan militants set a complex attack on Gurdwara, the Afghan Sikhs’ worship place in PD 1st of capital city of Kabul.

The attack has faced serious reactions from Afghan and foreign officials. Sikhs are considered as the minority of the Afghan mass.

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on our Sikh sisters and brothers in Kabul and condole with the victims,” said National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Mohib. – Afghan Sikhs re-attacked with missile in Crematorium; Ammunition mines recovered near Crematorium

Sikh24 Editors

Kabul – Afghanistan, 26 March 2020. In a video uploaded recently over social media, the DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa has revealed that the Afghan Sikhs have been re-attacked with missile in the crematorium of Kabul when they were about to cremate the dead bodies of more than two dozen Sikhs killed in 25 March attack.

“All of them are currently hiding in the crematorium and the Army has recovered ammunition mines in the nearby area,” Sirsa informed.

Afghan Sikhs re-attacked with missile in Crematorium; Ammunition mines recovered near Crematorium

Khaama Press Agency – Abu Khalid al-Hindi carried out the attack on Sikh temple in Kabul: ISIS-K

Kabul – Afghanistan, 27 March 2020. The offshoot of the Islamic State terror group, ISIS Khurasan, claimed that the attack on Sikh temple (Gurdwara) in Kabul was carried out by Abu Khalild al-Hindi.

The Amaq News Agency, affiliated with the terror group released the photo of the suicide bomber who stormed the Sikh temple in Kabul city on Wednesday.

The terror group also issued a brief statement claiming that the Sikh minority group was the target of the attack.

The Ministry of Interior confirmed that the attack on Sikh temple (Gurdwara) in Kabul city left at least 25 people dead and 8 others wounded.

This is not the first time the terror group is targeting the minority groups in Afghanistan.

A suicide attack, claimed by ISIS Khurasan, killed at least 19 people including many members of the Sikh community in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar in mid-2018.

The attack also killed also killed Awtar Singh Khalsa, the only Sikh candidate who had planned to contest the parliamentary elections.

Abu Khalid al-Hindi carried out the attack on Sikh temple in Kabul: ISIS-K

The Tribune – India’s ambassador to Afghanistan visits gurdwara, shares grief with families of terror attack

India in touch with families of those killed and injured in Kabul terror attack: MEA

Kabul – Afghanistan, 26 March 2020. India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar on Thursday visited the gurdwara where at least 25 worshippers were killed after it was attacked by a heavily armed suicide bomber and offered condolences to families of the victims of the horrific attack.

At least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurdwara on Wednesday in the heart of Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the strife-torn country.

The Islamic State (IS) terror group, which has targeted Sikhs before in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack in Shor Bazaar area.

“Amb @vkumar1969 visited the gurdwara and met community leaders, elders and families of the victims of terrorist attack. He shared their grief and offered condolences. He was told that the injured are receiving satisfactory treatment,” the Indian embassy in Afghanistan said in a tweet.

The embassy also said it was working for the return of the mortal remains of Tian Singh, one of the deceased from Delhi, whose family wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help them bring back the mortal remains.

“@IndianEmbKabul is working for the return of the mortal remains of Shri Tian Singh. @IndianEmbKabul will continue to provide all assistance to the community and families as may be required in these difficult days,” it said.

Prime Minister Modi said on Wednesday that he was “saddened” by the attack on the gurdwara when 150 worshippers were inside the building.

“I am saddened by today’s terror attack at Gurdwara in Kabul. I express my condolences to the families of all the deceased,” he said in a tweet.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also condemned the attack that lasted for about six hours, terming it cowardly and reflective of a “diabolical mindset”.

“Such cowardly attacks on places of religious worship of the minority community, especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, is reflective of the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers,” it said in a statement.

The MEA said India stood in solidarity with the people, the government and the security forces of Afghanistan in their efforts for bringing peace and security to the country.

“We commend the brave Afghan security forces for their valorous response to the attack and their exemplary courage and dedication to protect the Afghan people and secure the country,” it said.

Photos from the blast scene showed security forces carrying wounded people away on stretchers. Some Afghan media outlets shared videos of the family members of victims waiting outside a city hospital in tears.

Police in Kabul said that at least 11 children were rescued from the gurdwara.

Sikhs have been target of attacks by Islamist militants before in Afghanistan.

Tolo News – 25 Killed in attack at Dharamshala, Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) in Kabul

The attack ended after nearly six hours and the special forces and foreign troops were involved.

Kabul – Afghanistan, 25 March 2020, At least 25 people were killed and more than eight others were wounded during an attack on a Sikh place of worship in the Shorbazar area of Kabul*, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

The incident began around 7:45 am local time in PD1 of Kabul city, and 80 people including women and children were rescued, according to the statement.

TOLO news reporter Sharif Amiry said that explosions were heard in the area.

The security forces transferred victims of the attack by ambulance to hospitals.

Foreign troops have also responded to the attack, Amiry says.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sikhs and Hindus citizens have accused the government of being reckless and said that today’s bloody attack is the result of government failure.

Daesh has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Taliban have denied involvement in it, but sources in the government blamed the Haqqani group for the attack.

Two years ago, Sikh citizens in Jalalabad were also targeted by a suicide attack.

*Gurdwara Guru Har Rai, Shor Bazar Kabul – Deadly attack on Kabul’s Gurdwara leaves more than 30 Sikhs dead; Attack suspected to be a handiwork of Islamic State

Sikh24 Editors

Kabul – Afghanistan, 25 March 2020. Scores of unidentified gunmen and suicide bombers today attacked a Gurdwara Sahib in Afghanistan’s national capital Kabul during the morning hours. More than 30 causalities are being expected in this deadly attack while around 200 are being reported trapped inside the Gurdwara complex.

“A security source said that at least 11 people have been killed by attackers at Dharamshala, a Sikh worship area in PD1 of Kabul, Afghanistan,” tweeted TOLO news a local news outlet of Afghanistan.

Narender Singh Khalsa, an Afghan parliamentarian who represents the tiny Sikh community, said that up to 200 people were trapped inside Gurdwara Sahib in this early morning’s attack.

He further informed that around three suicide bombers had entered into Gurdwara premises today when the Dharamshala was full of devotees. Meanwhile, the Afghan security forces are combating to tackle the assailants. It is learnt that the security forces have sealed entire area.

Initially, it was being expected as an attack by Taliban but the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed has tweeted that the Talibanis were not involved. Now, the Islamic State is being suspected behind this attack as an Afghanistan’s Islamic State affiliate had struck a gathering of minority Shiite Muslims in Kabul, killing 32 people earlier this month.

Sikhs and Shia Hazaras are being targeted by whoever these idiots were

Deadly attack on Kabul’s Gurdwara leaves more than 30 Sikhs dead; Attack suspected to be a handiwork of Islamic State

Tolo News – Pakistan Bars PTM Leaders’ Trip to Kabul for Inauguration: PTM

“We are going back as we were not allowed to fly to Kabul. FIA told us quite explicitly that the military has barred us from leaving the country”

Kabul – Afghanistan, 09 March 2020. On Sunday, Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leaders Ali Wazir and Mohsen Dawar, who were “invited formally by President Ghani for the oath-taking ceremony,” were “stopped from leaving for Kabul at the Islamabad airport,” PTM members tweeted.

Later in the day, Mohsin Dawar tweeted: “We are going back as we were not allowed to fly to Kabul. FIA told us quite explicitly that the military has barred us from leaving the country. This is what elected Pashtun MNAs have to go through in Pakistan. This is the fate of an elected Pashtun representative in Pakistan.”

He also tweeted: “Sending best wishes to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on his reelection and thanks to all the Afghans who invited us and those who were waiting to welcome.

Also thanks to the Afghan Ambassador in Pakistan, Mashal Atif, for his efforts to resolve this issue.”

The PTM held a large, peaceful protest in January and demanded their ethnic and territorial rights from the Pakistani government, and called for a broader international movement. Pakistan responded with the arrests of PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen, who is now released on bail but still facing charges, as well as others.

PTM is a Pashtun-rights group that has called for the de-mining of the former tribal areas and greater freedom of movement within tribal areas. It has called for an end to “extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and unlawful detentions,” according to reports.

According to PTM members, almost 30,000 people from the two provinces, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan, have gone missing over the past 10 years.

Tolo News – Abdullah: High Level Talks About Crisis Ongoing

Reuters has reported that the United States has asked Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to defer his second-term inauguration.

Anisa Shaheed

Kabul – Afghanistan, 25 February 2020. Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday said that his recent talks and meetings with some of Afghanistan’s mainstream political leaders, including former president Hamid Karzai, former mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, and the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalamy Khalilzad, were focused on the election crisis.

Abdullah, speaking to media after meeting with tribal elders in Kabul, once again rejected the announcement of the presidential election results by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) as ‘illegitimate.”

“The illegitimate announcement of the election led to the crisis, and, so far, no one has accepted the election results,” said Abdullah in a question asked by TOLO news’ reporter Anisa Shaheed about reports that Abdullah had been asked to accept the results.

However, Abdullah refrained from providing any further details about his talks with the political leaders, but said that the talks and meetings will continue.

Meanwhile, Reuters has reported that the United States has asked Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to defer his second-term inauguration over concerns it could inflame an election feud with his political rival and jeopardize US-led peacemaking efforts.

The presidential palace so far has not made a comment about the report by Reuters.

Both Abdullah and Ghani previously said that they will be sworn in as president on Thursday.

“Mr Khalilzad told us that the US was not aware of the issue, but I don’t think that the US was unaware of the move by Arg (presidential palace),” said Sayed Eshaq Gailani, head of Nahzat-e-Hambastagi Afghanistan party.

“I want to make one suggestion to our foreign partners, and that is keeping silence over transparency issues in the election process is a sin,” said Anwarul Haq Ahadi, the former Minister of Finance who runs as Chief Executive in Abdullah’s campaign team.

“Today we gathered here to endorse the truthfulness of Dr. Abdullah and to show the support of the Pashtun people to him,” said Haji Din Mohammad, the deputy head of the High Peace Council (HPC).

Tolo News – Peace Agreement Between USA and Taliban ‘Finalized’: Abdullah

Abdullah hopes that the latest progress in the peace process will continue to intra-Afghan talks and then lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Kabul – Afghanistan, 17 February 2020. Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah at the Council of Ministers on Monday said that the peace agreement between the Taliban and US has been “finalized.”

“The agreement between the Taliban and US has been finalized and the signing of the agreement is based on the reduction in violence over seven-days and then it will continue,” Abdullah said.

“It is also an opportunity for the opposite side to show that they want peace in the country,” Abdullah said.

The USA Special Representative for Afghanistan’s Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, tweeted updates about progress in the peace process, noting the reduction in violence agreement between the US and Taliban, but stressed that “success cannot be guaranteed.”

Khalilzad reported on Twitter that he had met with President Ashraf Ghani in Munich on Friday and held a series of meetings with leaders and representatives from different countries.

Khalilzad also mentioned a “prolonged and fruitful” trip to Doha before attending the Munich Security Conference.

During a meeting with President Ghani, Khalilzad said the two “spoke about the opportunity of this reduction in violence and the imperative of preparing for an inclusive Afghan peace process.”

“We urge all Afghans to seize the moment and end the misery of more than four decades of war,” Khalilzad said.

Khalilzad said he briefed leaders at the Munich Security Conference about the peace process and “also discussed next steps and committed to working together on the difficult and complicated road ahead.”

Tolo News – Afghans call for swift start to Intra-Afghan Talks

Nasir Salehi

Kabul – Afghanistan, 07 February 2020. Ghor and Herat residents said the war in Afghanistan only kills Afghans, and it must end.

Dozens of residents in the western provinces of Ghor and Herat at separate gatherings called for a swift start to the long-awaited intra-Afghan negotiations, which are expected to follow a US-Taliban peace deal.

US negotiators and Taliban members have held more than ten rounds of talks in the Gulf state of Qatar to broker a peace deal expected to eventually open the way for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan and pave the way for an Afghan delegation to sit together with the Taliban and discuss a way forward.

Over the past few weeks, calls by Afghan activists as well as people in rural communities and urban cities have increased through different gatherings and social media platforms, all calling for a fast start to the intra-Afghan negotiations.

The process faces delays from the new demands made by the US representatives in Doha who want a commitment from the Taliban for a long-term reduction in violence or ceasefire. Also, there is much disagreement in Kabul about which delegates and what plan should be offered from the Afghan side in the coming intra-Afghan talks.

The participants of gatherings in Ghor and Herat, who have faced a rise in conflict in their provinces since last summer, said the bloodshed should end as it sacrifices only Afghans.

“As a young girl, I wish for a countrywide peace in Afghanistan so that the youth can get an education like in other countries and achieve their dreams,” Herat resident Freshta Sarwari said. “War has not yielded a result. It is better to sit together and achieve peace,” said Abdul Qadir Bahrami, a resident of Herat.

The Ghor gathering was attended by “hundreds of people,” according to multiple attendants of the event, and they commemorated the first anniversary of the death of Mohammad Ibrahim Malikzada, a Ghor lawmaker who passed away due to an illness in February 2019.

“The Ghor women want peace,” said Farida Naseri, a resident of Ghor. “We want an end to the bloodshed.”

“Peace is the only solution to Afghanistan’s problems,” said Ramazan Akhundzada, head of the Hajj and Religious Affairs Directorate of Ghor. “We call on the Afghan government, the warring sides and armed militants to address the people’s demand (for peace).”

Some religious scholars in the gathering called the ongoing war illegitimate and asked the warring sides to end their hostility.

“The two sides of the war are Muslims. In some cases, they are buried together in one place,” said Abdul Bari Qanit, a religious scholar.

“All Afghan citizens have realized that they are the main victims of the war; therefore, we do not want to be a tool for outsiders’ goals,” said Abdul Basir Danishyar, professor at Ghor University.